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Homelessness is No Picnic

Homelessness is No Picnic 04/08/2018

Warm weather doesn’t mean shelter for Kelowna’s homeless.
The second annual Homeless is No Picnic event, hosted by Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, took place in City Park Saturday, in order to spread awareness about homelessness in the city.
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Kelowna Gospel Mission thanks community support workers with 8th annual Well Done BBQ

Kelowna Gospel Mission thanks community support workers with 8th annual Well Done BBQ 06/06/2018

To celebrate the hard work done by local non-profit and social service agencies, the Kelowna Gospel Mission (KGM) hosted their 8th annual Well Done BBQ on Wednesday afternoon.
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8th Annual Well Done BBQ

8th Annual Well Done BBQ 07/06/2018

Non-profit and social service agencies working to help people who are homeless and struggling with addictions, mental health issues and unaffordable housing gathered at the Kelowna Gospel Mission Wednesday for the 8th annual Well Done BBQ.

“We called people together to recognize that we do good work together and as a message to our community that as agencies, we’re not working in silos, we’re working together and it’s our collaboration and cooperation that brings us successes,” said Randy Benson, executive director of the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

Local groups represented at the lunch included homeless shelters, housing providers, addiction resources, Interior Health, the Downtown Kelowna Association and the RCMP.

Working together to bring services to people in need is essential to ensure good communication and collaboration and to prevent the duplicating of services, said Benson.
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A Gift of Solar Power

A Gift of Solar Power 21/04/2018

Several volunteers spent their Saturday on the roof of the Kelowna Gospel Mission Saturday, helping save the shelter $1,000 per year in expenses.

Crews from Okanagan Solar, along with Highstreet Ventures, spent the day installing a solar panel array on the building, worth about $20,000. The money saved through the free energy from the new system will be spent on providing services to the Mission's clients.

“Look at the need in town, I mean, just helping to give back to the community,” said Rob Monteith, owner of Okanagan Solar.

Monteith said the idea started last fall, when he was driving some of his suppliers down Leon Street.

“There happened to be a couple hundred people in the street and I said to (the suppliers), 'If you guys have any extra materials that you want to donate, this would be a good place to see if we could help them out with some grid-type power,'” Monteith said. “And they all immediately said yes.
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Easter Dinner

Easter Dinner 31/03/2018

The Kelowna Gospel Mission has been holding their annual Easter dinner for more than 30 years, providing warm meals for those in the community who may not have a place to eat a family meal.

On Saturday, 50 turkeys, 18 hams, 500 pounds of potatoes, eight cases of frozen vegetables, along with stuffing, gravy and pies to top it all off were served up at the Gospel Mission on Leon Avenue to an expected 900 people.

“We like to have a family atmosphere,” said Randy Benson, executive director of the Gospel Mission. “It's a matter of making everybody feel like they have value, that we're all equal in our society and we're all deserving of that fellowship and that time together.
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Strides to End Homelessness

Strides to End Homelessness 03/03/2018

On Saturday afternoon, just over 200 locals gathered at the Kelowna Gospel Mission (KGM) to participate in the 7th annual Strides to End Homelessness.
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Morningside Rotary Club donates state of the art slicer to Kelowna Gospel Mission

Morningside Rotary Club donates state of the art slicer to Kelowna Gospel Mission 07/12/2017

A broken slicer could have put a serious damper on Christmas dinner at the Kelowna Gospel Mission, but the Morningside Rotary Club stepped up to save the day.

After the Gospel Mission’s old slicer broke, the Morningside Rotary Club purchased a state of the art commercial slicer for the shelter.
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Chiropractors Support Gospel Mission

Chiropractors Support Gospel Mission 29/11/2017

Chiropractors in Kelowna and West Kelowna have been volunteering for four years at Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

They come to the emergency shelter at 259 Leon Ave. every Wednesday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. to adjust anyone who can’t afford to visit a chiropractor.
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Find out more about Harmony House

Find out more about Harmony House 24/11/2017

Harmony House is Kelowna's Gospel Mission's 13 bed women's transitional home.
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Shelters over capacity

Shelters over capacity 07/11/2017

All of the homeless shelters in Kelowna are full and over capacity, causing a critical crisis in the city.

The Kelowna Gospel Mission was expecting half a dozen people when temperatures turned blustery last week, but more than they could handle showed up on their door steps.

“We were asked if we could put a few mats down on the floor in our dining room,” said Randy Benson, executive director.

Last Thursday night, 30 people showed up.
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As the weather turns colder, demand for shelter continues to grow

As the weather turns colder, demand for shelter continues to grow 01/11/2017

Long before the weather turned cold, Kelowna’s three homeless shelters were operating at or over capacity, and the demand for shelter continues to grow.

“The fact we’re entering our cold season with our shelters already at capacity is an indication of the great need that’s out there,” said Randy Benson, executive director of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

The Gospel Mission has 90 beds and is consistently full.

“We’ve been really scrambling to try to figure out what we’re going to do,” said Benson.
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1,000 turkey dinners

1,000 turkey dinners 09/10/2017

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission cooked 1,000 Thanksgiving dinners.

Over 50 volunteers have been preparing for the annual dinner for the past month.

“Our cooks prepared 66 turkeys, 20 hams, 500 pounds of potatoes and of course along with that is all the dressing, vegetables and gravy. Lots of food preparation,” said Randy Benson, Executive Director of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

Everyone was welcome to the dinner including people who stayed at the emergency shelter as well as anyone who is struggling to make ends meet.
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Golf tournament boosts Gospel Mission

Golf tournament boosts Gospel Mission 07/09/2017

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission is hosting its second annual charity golf tournament Friday at Sunset Ranch Golf and Country Club.

The goal of the tournament is to raise $20,000 for emergency shelter programs.

‘It’s been a very difficult year at our shelter with increased need and lack of housing available,” said Randy Benson, executive director of the Gospel Mission. “This is a great opportunity to have fun while helping those in need.”
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Follow along with JoAnne as she helps people living on the street

Follow along with JoAnne as she helps people living on the street 23/08/2017

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Thanks for job Well Done

Thanks for job Well Done 08/06/2017

Kelowna Gospel Mission thanked its volunteers and service partners for a job well done, Thursday.

The mission held its annual Well Done Barbecue, serving up burgers at the Leon Avenue agency to those who help feed and shelter the homeless.

“This is our seventh annual ... and it’s a time to celebrate and get together with all the service providers and to recognize the good work that we do here in Kelowna," said executive director Randy Benson.
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Gospel Mission gets helping hand

Gospel Mission gets helping hand 19/04/2017

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s staff were overwhelmed by the generosity of the Morningside Rotary Club with a timely gift of a commercial steamer to help prepare over 600 meals per day.

The shelter relies on a steamer to cook their eggs, potatoes, vegetables, rice and pasta. They were distraught when it broke down with the big Easter banquet coming up. With the limited stoves and stove tops, they weren’t sure how they would cook the 300 pounds of potatoes that the banquet required. This is when the Morningside Rotary Club stepped in. After hearing about the breakdown they purchased a brand new steamer at the cost of $5,000.
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Easter Dinner is Served!

Easter Dinner is Served! 14/04/2017

A delicious Easter dinner awaits at Kelowna's Gospel Mission.

Volunteers have been busy preparing 50 turkeys, 300 pounds of potatoes and 21 hams that will be served on Saturday from Noon until 6:00 p.m.

"We strive every day to bring that hope, whether it is to homeless, the working poor or the seniors in need that we serve," said Randy Benson, executive director of the Gospel Mission. "These meals are so important for bringing people together in a family-like atmosphere and Kelowna is a family.
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Strides to End Homelessness 2017

Strides to End Homelessness 2017 04/03/2017

With the help of Kelowna Gospel Mission, he’s been clean and off the streets.

Now, this is his second year volunteering at the mission’s Stride to End Homelessness.

He volunteers at the mission almost every week, he said.

“I came here and the staff saved my life so I keep on coming back,” said O’Brien.

He volunteers at the event to meet new people and bring awareness to the community, he said.

“If you show that you’re really working towards yourself, they’ll do anything. I can’t give enough back for what they’ve done for me.”
Homeless Battle Cold

Homeless Battle Cold 04/01/2017

Many people shiver and complain going from their warm home to their car in the morning.

But, what about the homeless, who have nowhere to go to escape the frigid temperatures?

The Homeless Hub recently researched how many people call the streets of Kelowna home.

In 2016, they came out with a study that determined 279 individuals are estimated to be living on the streets, and 164 are living in homeless shelters.

During this cold snap, Kelowna's Gospel Mission is open all hours of the day to make sure the homeless keep warm.
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Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover

Don't Judge a Book by it's Cover 17/12/2016

You know the adage “You can’t judge a book by its cover?”

The same is true of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission. Drive down the 200 block of Leon Avenue and you may well see a handful of people standing or sitting around on either side of the street.

To too many people in Kelowna, that IS Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

But nothing could be further from the truth. Inside the walls is a totally different story.

The average number of people we serve in a day is around 200.

Of those, 33 per cent have a place to live and use our services of food and support in order to remain housed. Fifty per cent of the people that come through our doors have an active case plan and are working with a case worker to achieve independence and self-sustenance.
Community Christmas meal at Kelowna's Gospel Mission

Community Christmas meal at Kelowna's Gospel Mission 16/12/2016

KELOWNA - Kelowna’s Gospel Mission will serve their annual Christmas Dinner to anyone in the community from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17 at 259 Leon Ave.

With the help of community support, Kelowna’s Gospel Mission expects to serve close to 700 Christmas meals on Saturday.

People from all over the Central Okanagan, including many seniors and families, will come to enjoy our traditional Christmas meal of turkey with stuffing, ham, mashed potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, rolls and pie.
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KelownaNow podcast: Sonja Menyes from Kelowna's Gospel Mission

KelownaNow podcast: Sonja Menyes from Kelowna's Gospel Mission 15/12/2016

KelownaNow podcast: Sonja Menyes from Kelowna's Gospel Mission
It's arguably the most challenging time of the year for the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

Not only is it the holidays, which is a tough time of year for a lot of people, especially those down on their luck, but it's also the coldest time of the year.

Temperatures have been hitting -20C in Kelowna at night over the last few days and haven't been going above zero during the day, which aren't only tough conditions to sleep in, but tough conditions to survive in.
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Local restaurants bring fare to the Gospel Mission

Local restaurants bring fare to the Gospel Mission 08/12/2016

Local restaurants will treat clients of the Gospel Mission in downtown Kelowna to gourmet meals over the next several weeks.

The restaurants will bring chefs, staff and food to the mission, and cook up meals for more than 200 people.

“The Christmas season is a difficult time for the homeless and these great restaurants are helping to bring hope for the holidays,” Randy Benson, executive director of the Gospel Mission, said in a press release. “We are so humbled and grateful.”
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Kelowna's Gospel Mission serves up Westside Christmas Dinner

Kelowna's Gospel Mission serves up Westside Christmas Dinner 25/11/2016

Christmas in our Community is the second annual event sponsored by Kelowna’s Gospel Mission and Powers Creek Community Church, to help bring Christmas to West Kelowna’s friends and neighbours.

It is being held at Westbank Lions Community Centre, 2466 Main Street, West Kelowna, beginning at 5:30pm on Saturday, November 26, 2016.
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Community Leader: Sheyanne Smith

Community Leader: Sheyanne Smith 14/11/2016

At this stage of her life, the Kelowna Gospel Mission is home for Sheyanne Smith.

She has been living at the emergency shelter since January when her family lost the home that she, her mom, brother and mom's boyfriend were living in.

Living at the Gospel Mission until she can find another form of housing, Sheyanne has volunteered there every day on an average of 10 to 12 hours a day, sometimes more.
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Free Dental Clinic Reopens

Free Dental Clinic Reopens 09/11/2016

After shutting its doors six weeks ago, the Kelowna Gospel Mission’s free dental clinic will reopen Monday.

For more than a decade the clinic has been offering free treatment to clients who need dental work but don’t have the means to pay for it
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‘You are stronger than you believe’: inspirational Thanksgiving at Kelowna Gospel Mission

‘You are stronger than you believe’: inspirational Thanksgiving at Kelowna Gospel Mission 10/10/2016

It’s traditionally the Kelowna Gospel Mission’s biggest meal, but this Thanksgiving the need is even greater with homeless numbers in the city reaching staggering highs.
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Mission Accomplished

Mission Accomplished 14/09/2016

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission courtyard is officially open for use.

Leon Avenue has often been cluttered with the personal belongings of those served by the Gospel Mission – causing complaints about the eyesore.

Randy Benson with the Gospel Mission says there was no place for clients to wait for services outside except the sidewalk, but that has changed.
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New sheds off Leon Avenue offer shopping cart storage

New sheds off Leon Avenue offer shopping cart storage 06/09/2016

Expect Leon Avenue to look a little less cluttered, as new free storage units will give Kelowna’s homeless a place to store their carts and belongings.

The Kelowna Gospel Mission has just finished construction of 12 small sheds, making them available to its clients free of charge.

The mission partnered with the City of Kelowna and BC Housing to construct the sheds, to deal with what executive director Randy Benson calls the “the whole situation on Leon Avenue.”
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Cart Storage

Cart Storage 06/09/2016

The Kelowna Gospel Mission has partnered with outside agencies to help solve the issue of clutter and congestion along Leon Avenue.
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Calling all Golfers!

Calling all Golfers! 22/07/2016

Kelowna's Gospel Mission holds first ever charity golf classic
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Randy Benson has been the Executive Director at Kelowna's Gospel Mission for 15 years.

Randy Benson has been the Executive Director at Kelowna's Gospel Mission for 15 years. 21/07/2016

Randy Benson’s business is booming, but he won’t get a million-dollar bonus.

In 15 years on the job, Benson has quadrupled staff and serves twice as many clients daily, but that’s not necessarily good news, either.

Benson is executive director of Kelowna Gospel Mission, the downtown centre with shelter beds, meals and outreach work for the homeless and working poor.
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Thanks to UBC for re-arranging their schedule once volunteer dentists responded to our need for mentor dentists!

Thanks to UBC for re-arranging their schedule once volunteer dentists responded to our need for mentor dentists! 09/06/2016

Randy Benson, executive director of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, said they were offered the dental residency program by UBC this year, but they need a fully licensed dentist in the clinic at all times to oversee everything.
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6th Annual "Well Done" BBQ!

6th Annual "Well Done" BBQ! 08/06/2016

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission applauds community partners with barbecue!
The Mission, found at 259 Leon Ave., hosted members of the Kelowna RCMP, Kelowna city councillors and a variety of local social agencies on Wednesday, June 8, over the lunch hour.

Randy Benson, executive director of Kelowna’s Gospel Mission, said they set out to thank other non-profits and partners in the area who have helped to improve the community over the past year.
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Mount Boucherie Students Provide and Serve meal

Mount Boucherie Students Provide and Serve meal 01/06/2016

KELOWNA – From cooking up soup and hot dogs for lunch, to offering donated toiletries and clothing, a group of grade 12 students from Mount Boucherie Secondary are spending some of their final days in high school getting to know Kelowna’s homeless population.
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